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Staff Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

DBRLTeen - May 14, 2015

Red Queen by Victoria AveyardWhy I Checked It Out: Weeks before its release date, “Red Queen” was advertised as the next big YA fantasy, and considering that is my favorite genre, I eagerly put it on hold and awaited its release. Also, the cover looks awesome.

What It’s About: Mare is Red. She lives in a poverty stricken world, has to steal to help feed her family and has three brothers fighting in a war she’ll soon have to join. Her world is ruled by Silvers, the majestic, rich upper class with silver blood and deadly powers. And, Mare hates them.

The Silvers suppress the Reds, making them fight in their wars, and do all the heavy lifting with nothing to expect in return. When Mare gets a job working in the palace, she can’t say no, she needs the money, but she expects to hate every moment of it. What Mare doesn’t expect is finding out she has power, too, just like the Silvers. When a group of Reds begin to rebel against the Silvers’ way of doing things, Mare realizes if there’s one thing worth fighting for, it’s to free the Reds from Silver rule.

What I Liked About It (And, What I Didn’t): I like Mare’s sassy attitude, but other people might not find her so endearing. Also, while the story idea is cool, I wouldn’t call it unique. “Red Queen” is like a mix and match of other stories, and not in the most creative way. Imagine a story with “X-Men” like powers, the same poor versus rich setup as “The Hunger Games,” and the same royal drama of the TV show “Reign.” I don’t know yet if I feel like the mash-up in “Red Queen” is good or bad. I predict many people will love this book, though, and excitedly read the other two books coming out in the trilogy.

Similar Titles: If you read “Red Queen” and liked it, there are a lot of other amazing titles out there you should try, such as Rae Carson’s “Girl of Fire and Thorns,” Leigh Bardugo’s “Shadow and Bone,” Kristin Cashore’s “Graceling” and Melina Marchetta’s “Finnikin of the Rock.” Each of these is a fantasy adventure with a touch of romance, and are easily among my favorite YA reads.

Originally published at Staff Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard.

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New DVD List: Boyhood & More

DBRL Next - May 13, 2015

boyhoodHere is a new DVD list highlighting various titles in fiction and nonfiction recently added to the library collection.

Trailer / Website / Reviews
Shown at the True False Film Fest in 2014 and garnering an Oscar nomination for best picture, this film follows a boy named Mason who ages from 6 to 18 years old on screen. The film was shot intermittently over a 12-year period from May 2002 to October 2013, showing the growth of Mason and his older sister, Samantha, to adulthood.

Trailer / Website / Reviews
Shown at the True False Film Fest in 2014, this film by Robert Greene (“Kati with an i“) follows actress Brandy Burre who gave up her career to start a family. When she decides to reclaim her life as an actor, the domestic world she’s carefully created crumbles around her. It’s a film about starring in the movie of your life.

nick caveNick Cave: 20,000 Days on Earth
Trailer / Website / Reviews
Shown at the True False Film Fest in 2014, this film follows a fictitious 24 hours in the life of musician and international cultural icon, Nick Cave. With startlingly frank insights and an intimate portrayal of the artistic process, the film examines what makes us who we are and celebrates the transformative power of the creative spirit.

happy valleyHappy Valley
Trailer / Website / Reviews
Shown at the True False Film Fest in 2014, this film by Amir Bar-Lev (“My Kid Could Paint That”) investigates the Penn State child molestation scandal, in which Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky was accused of several accounts of child sexual abuse and head coach Joe Paterno and university administration were implicated in a coverup.

my winnipegMy Winnipeg
Trailer / Website / Reviews
Director Guy Maddin’s 2007 “docu-fantasia” is given a special re-release through the Criterion Collection. A work of memory and imagination focusing on the Canadian city of Winnipeg, Maddin’s film burrows into what the filmmaker calls “the heart of the heart” of the continent, conjuring a city populated by sleepwalkers and hockey aficionados.

Other notable releases:
Hannibal” – Season 1, Season 2 – Website / Reviews
Boss” – Season 1, Season 2Website / Reviews
Suits” – Season 1Website / Reviews
Babylon 5” – Season 1 – Website
Musketeers” – Season 1, Season 2 – Website / Reviews
Witches of East End” – Season 1Website / Reviews
The Sopranos” – Season 1, Season 2, Season 3, Season 4, Season 5 – Website / Review

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Ask the Author: An Interview with Steven Watts

DBRL Next - May 12, 2015

Local author and professor Steven Watts be giving a talk at the Columbia Public Library this Thursday about his book “Self-Help Messiah.” The book documents the life and times of Dale Carnegie, author of “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” and the dynamic era in which he rose to fame. Here is an interview with the author for a sneak preview of the event.

DBRL: What inspired you to write this book?

SW: Over the last 20 years or so I have been writing biographies of major figures in the shaping of modern American culture, a group that included Walt Disney, Henry Ford and Hugh Hefner. In particular, I have been interested in exploring how a mainstream modern creed of consumerism, personality and self-fulfillment replaced an older Victorian standard of producerism, character and self-control. After completing the Hefner book, I was looking for a new subject when Dale Carnegie rose to the surface. I had taught about him for many years in a couple of my classes at MU, focusing on his popular advice literature in the twentieth century, and his ideas always had formulated vigorous debate, as some students loved him and others hated him. When I looked at the literature, I was surprised to see that no one had written a full-scale biography of this crucial figure in modern American life. So he seemed like a natural choice for my next project.

DBRL: As a library employee, I see “How to Win Friends and Influence People” circulate regularly, which surprises me considering that the book was written almost 80 years ago. Why do you think the book has stayed relevant for so long?

SW: How to Win Friends,” some historians have suggested, is one of the three or four best-selling non-fiction books in the entire sweep of American history and probably stands in the top dozen or so for books of all kinds. The figures I have seen support that contention. Its enormous popularity is no accident. Carnegie, with his anecdotal style and perky personality, supplied Americans with a compelling and easily digestible handbook on how to succeed in modern society. (What Horatio Alger was to the nineteenth century, Carnegie was to the twentieth.) His advice is brilliantly tailored to meet the demands and expectations of a modern bureaucratic society and a consumer culture, particularly for white-collar workers. Since that basic structure still stands in place in the United States, and indeed seems to be spreading inexorably around the world with globalization, the advice is still relevant. People respond to it viscerally, I think, and sense immediately that its principles can be applied effectively to their daily lives.

DBRL: How pivotal do you think Carnegie was? Do you think he was in the right place at the right time, and that someone else would have filled this cultural role had he not? Was this shift already on the verge of happening? Or do you think our culture would have looked much different today had he not published this book?

SW: This “what if” kind of question is always difficult for a historian to answer because we will never know what might have happened. We can only speculate, and my speculation is this. Famous people, I always tell my students, are usually individuals who stand in the right place at the right time with the right idea. It is partly a matter of context and circumstance and partly a matter of individual perception and talent. Carnegie is just such a figure. American culture was in the midst of large-scale change in the early twentieth century, so, yes, that process would probably have gone on and ended up in roughly the same place without Carnegie. At the same time, however, his efforts played an important role in formulating and systematizing vague notions of personality development, consumer striving and success that were floating around in the cultural atmosphere. He took what was nascent and made it concrete. So Carnegie does strike me as a pivotal figure whose unique talents help define and push forward a broad process of cultural change that has shaped our modern world. While it would have gone on without him, of course, I believe that he played a very important role in giving it the particular caste it has taken on.

DBRL: In her book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in A World That Can’t Stop Talking,” Susan Cain pinpoints Dale Carnegie as one of the most influential people in America’s shift from a culture that values a person’s character to one that places more value on an individual’s personality. Do you agree with that assessment?

SW: I agree completely. In fact, this shift from “character,” with its stress on internalized moral qualities, to “personality,” with its stress on the projection of attractive images to others, is one of the main arguments in my book. It describes not only the broader shift in American culture that is first glimpsed in the 1890s before building much steam in subsequent decades, but also Carnegie himself, whose paeans to the power of personality are key to his success advice.

DBRL: Have you read any good books lately that you’d like to recommend to our readers?

SW: I do a lot of reading in non-fiction, as you might imagine, particularly in American history but also in ancient Roman history, which has been a kind of intellectual hobby of mine for many years now. In the former area, I would recommend Robert Dallek’sCamelot’s Court: Inside the Kennedy White House,” an interesting exploration of the key figures who surrounded JFK in the creation of the New Frontier in the early 1960s. In the latter area, I have just finished “The Death of Caesar: The Story of History’s Most Famous Assassination,” by Barry Strauss, which presents a colorful and insightful account of the murder of Julius Caesar and its role in the decline of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire.

Don’t miss Steven Watt’s book talk at the Columbia Public Library from 7 – 8:15 p.m on Thursday, May 14. Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing.

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Classics for Everyone: How to Win Friends and Influence People

DBRL Next - May 11, 2015

Book cover for How to Win Friends and Influence PeopleBook cover for Self-Help Messiah by Dale Carnegie“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” So advised Dale Carnegie, the father of self-help in the United States. His book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” was first published in 1936 and still occasionally generates a waiting list here at the library. This is no small feat in an age when the Next Big Thing crops up approximately every 12 hours.

Carnegie’s life story is as American as it gets. He was a Missouri farm boy turned cultural phenomenon, arriving at that status via a series of sales jobs, stints teaching public speaking in night school, the launch of a leadership training franchise and eventually his best-selling book. He played a major role in the shaping of U.S. society as we know it today, some say for the better and some say for the worse. The truth is probably a mix of the two. Warren Buffet claims to have gained a lot from Carnegie’s teachings, but so does Charles Manson. It may be a case of appropriate versus inappropriate use of tools.

That’s what Carnegie aimed to provide – tools for social interaction. His initial target audience consisted of professionals who struggled with people skills. “How to Win Friends…”contains an agreeable mix of aphorism and anecdote. Along with bits of his own wisdom, the author includes quotes aplenty from other sources: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Buddha, Henry Ford and more.

The book is so entrenched in our cultural consciousness, it continues to inspire spin-offs for readers of all ages. Some contemporary variations are: “How to Win Friends and Influence People for Teen Girls,” “How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age” and a children’s book titled “How to Win Friends and Influence Creatures.”

If learning from the master is not enough and you also want to learn about the master, you’re in luck. Steve Watts has written a biography about Carnegie, “Self-Help Messiah,” and will be giving a talk on May 14 at the Columbia Public Library. The event will take place in the Friends Room from 7:00-8:15 p.m.

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Free eBooks, Music, Movies and More!

DBRLTeen - May 11, 2015

Teen KindleDaniel Boone Regional Library provides cardholders with free access to hundreds of downloadable and streaming eBooks, audiobooks, music, movies, TV shows and magazines. To access this content, you will need to log in using your DBRL card number. Your PIN is your birthdate (MMDDYYYY).

If you have questions or encounter difficulties logging in, please call (573) 443-3161 or 1-800-324-4806. You can also try the library’s chat reference service to visit with a librarian who can help in real time from your computer. Learn more.

OverDrive offers access to thousands of downloadable eBook and audiobook titles, including many of the most popular young adult novels. Whether you enjoy reading on your iPad or Kindle, or listening on your smartphone, this service provides you with free titles to download at anytime. View a list of devices compatible with this service, or download the iOS or Android app.

Hoopla allows you to watch movies and TV shows, or listen to music and audiobooks with your computer or mobile device for free. Download the Hoopla app for iOSAndroid or Kindle Fire HDX to begin enjoying thousands of titles from major film studios, recording companies and publishers.

Zinio offers over 100 free digital magazines for you to read on your computer, tablet or smartphone such as Seventeen, ESPN, Girl’s Life, Rolling Stone, Teen Vogue, Popular Science, US Weekly and many more. Get the app for your iOS, Android,  Kindle Fire, Blackberry, Nook HD or Windows 8 mobile device.

Photo by Flickr User André Goerres. Used under Creative Commons license.

Originally published at Free eBooks, Music, Movies and More!.

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Four Books for Your Mother’s Day

DBRL Next - May 8, 2015

Book cover for Listen to Your MotherFlowers, breakfast in bed, finger-painted and glitter-encrusted masterpieces — if you are a mom, you may be the lucky recipient of one of these traditional Mother’s Day gifts. Here at the library, we are also fond of giving the gift of reading (naturally). Here are five books and their publisher’s descriptions that moms might enjoy.

Listen to Your Mother: What She Said Then, What We’re Saying Now
Irreverent, thought-provoking, hilarious and edgy: a collection of personal stories celebrating motherhood, featuring #1 New York Times bestselling authors Jenny Lawson and Jennifer Weiner, as well as many other notable writers. “Listen to Your Mother” explores why our mothers are important, taking readers on a journey through motherhood in all of its complexity, diversity and humor.

Bettyville” by George Hodgman
A witty, tender memoir of a son’s journey home to care for his irascible mother — a tale of secrets, silences and enduring love. When Hodgman leaves Manhattan for his hometown of Paris, Missouri, he finds himself — an unlikely caretaker and near-lethal cook — in a head-on collision with his aging mother, Betty, a woman of wit and will. Will George lure her into assisted living? When hell freezes over.

Book cover for Three Many Cooks by Pam AndersonThree Many Cooks: One Mom, Two Daughters: Their Shared Stories of Food, Faith & Family” by Pam Anderson
When the women behind the blog Three Many Cooks gather in the busiest room in the house, there are never too many cooks in the kitchen. Now cookbook author Anderson and her daughters Maggy Keet and Sharon Damelio blend compelling reflections and well-loved recipes into one funny, candid and irresistible book.

Postcards From Cookie: A Memoir of Motherhood, Miracles, and a Whole Lot of Mail” by Caroline Clark
Award-winning journalist and host of Black “Enterprise” Business Report Caroline Clarke’s moving memoir of her surprise discovery of her birth mother — Cookie Cole, the daughter of Nat King Cole — and the relationship that blossomed between them through the heartfelt messages they exchanged on hundreds of postcards.

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Books for Dudes – Enjoy an “Eighth Day”

DBRLTeen - May 8, 2015

The Eighth DayAs I’m helping get things set up for this year’s summer reading (and it’s going to be awesome, make no mistake), I find myself wishing for more time. In Dianne K. Selerni’s “The Eighth Day,” an eighth day can be as much of a curse as a blessing.

Jax wakes up to absolute silence. In fact, it’s so quiet that Jax believes the empty streets are a sign of the zombie apocalypse. He finds out that he is a rare person who can visit a special extra eighth day between Wednesday and Thursday. He is welcomed as part of the Transitioners, those who can live in all eighth days. However, some people, like the girl next door, Evangeline, are able to live in the eighth day, but must spend the rest of time in a ghost-like presence. Jax is warned by a benefactor not to visit the mysterious Evangeline, but he’s a 13-year-old boy. Of course he’s going to go over and have a look!

While the story takes place in today’s world, the eighth day and those with ties to it are all part of Arthurian legend. What is Evangeline’s connection to Merlin, who is she hiding from and how does Jax’s and Evangeline’s adventure tie into the legend of Camelot? Read this great book and find out (and don’t forget to pick up the second book in this series, “The Inquisitor’s Mark“). I guarantee that once you start, it will NOT take you eight days to finish.

Originally published at Books for Dudes – Enjoy an “Eighth Day”.

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Summertime Cycling Tips

DBRL Next - May 6, 2015

Big Book of CyclingAs the summer months come upon us, it is time to be active outdoors with the whole family! There are few sports that are more family friendly and all-encompassing than bicycling. With our great network of trails and fantastic cycling infrastructure, bicycling is a favorite pastime of many in Mid-Missouri, and from April through October, the trails and roads are crowded with cyclists of all ages. In celebration of National Bike Month (and also Bike, Walk & Wheel Week here in Columbia!), let’s showcase some of the great books the library owns that will keep you pedaling happily through the warm countryside.

First, let’s review safety. Almost two months ago I was taking a spin with some friends near McBaine, Missouri and had a spill on the bike. Although my bike wasn’t hurt too badly, I was pretty banged up. Most especially, my helmet was quite badly broken. The helmet most likely saved my life. For some great tips about bike safety, please see this book published by Bicycling magazine and Rodale Press,  “The Big Book of Bicycling.” The book includes a chapter on safe riding techniques and helmet selection. A great tip: “All helmets sold in the United States meet CPSC safety standards, so a $30 lid is equally as good as a $200 one.”

It’s also very important that kids learn early about bike safety. Confident cycling is one of the most important elements behind safety, and helping your kids ride with confidence will prevent many accidents from happening. The library has some great kids books about cycling, including “Safety on your Bicycle” for the very young readers in your family. With photographs and illustrations provided, including the proper way to put on a helmet, this book is a good starting point for kids. Pednet, Columbia’s homegrown cycling advocacy organization, also offers fantastic beginning bicycling courses for children.

Book cover for Effective CyclingOne of the great classics of all literature when it comes to everything about the bike is “Effective Cycling” by John Forester. The first edition came out in 1974, and there is now a seventh edition published, with a great deal of updated information. If you are a cycling commuter (especially if you are negotiating heavy traffic), a general enthusiast or a burgeoning bike mechanic, this is a fantastic handbook. Forester is an engineer, so the sections in the book on riding in traffic safely are technically superb. There is even a section about cycling with children, and in keeping with the thoroughness of the book, several pages devoted to building one’s own “tagalong” bike (Forester calls it the “kiddie-back tandem”), the design of which he helped refine in the 1970s. My wife and I use this device all the time to transport our daughter around town. He offers an important piece of advice: “Remember that the child who assists will not be working as hard as the parent who leads”  True indeed!

Cycling is in a renaissance right now. Not only is the sport more popular on a recreational level, but there is also a tremendous amount of active participation by several organizations in the community that have helped in changing the way bicycles are perceived. Pednet and GetAbout Columbia have done a great job making our streets and roads safer for cyclists here in Columbia — the infrastructure has become much more cycling friendly since I moved here in 1999. And how has the cycling renaissance that has caught on in many American cities changed the way we transport ourselves through work and recreation? See the book “Pedaling Revolution” by Jeff Mapes. Mapes says: “cycling advocates have been the sparkplug for a broad coalition pushing government at all levels to adopt ‘complete street’ policies . . . ”  Indeed this has been the case here in Columbia — we are certainly a good case study.

One of the great things about cycling is that it is a life-long sport. Nicole Cooke, the Olympic gold medalist in the cycling road race in 2008, recently wrote a comprehensive book titled “Cycle for Life: Bike & Body Health & Maintenance.”  The book is perfect not only for the serious recreational rider, but also for women cyclists who are just getting started in the sport.

A last bit of advice is . . . remember to have fun out there!  And, please, always wear a helmet when you ride.

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Ask the Author: An Interview With Svetlana Grobman

DBRL Next - May 4, 2015

Book cover for The Education of a TraitorFor this edition of Ask the Author, I am excited to introduce the library’s very own Svetlana Grobman! If you’re a regular DBRL Next reader, you may have already heard about some of her travel adventures or teared up while reading her post about how libraries can change lives.

Grobman has just published her first full-length book, “The Education of a Traitor,” a memoir describing her experience as a Jewish child coming of age in Russia during the height of the Cold War. The book has been described as “An intimate look at a young woman’s struggle to find her own truth in a repressive society.”

DBRL: In “The Education of a Traitor” you tell of your fear and painful sense of isolation as a child. How much of this fear and pain do you think arose from the prejudice you felt growing up Jewish in an anti-Semitic country, and how much from a family life that might be considered dysfunctional by present-day American standards?

SG: The sense of isolation came from both sources, but it was the society that did most of the damage. As for my family, growing up I never thought about it as dysfunctional. Even now I believe that we were a very average family for that time and place. On the bright side, feeling lonely made me a voracious reader. :)

DBRL: So much of this memoir is vividly told, with compelling details of touch and smell and taste. Considering how many years have passed and how distant you are now, geographically, from your childhood in Russia, why do you think these sensory memories stayed with you?

SG: I think that children feel more acutely than adults, taste wise especially. That’s why children like bland food, and as we age, we need more and more spices. Also, nothing smells as good as it did when you were a child. For example, I planted a lilac tree in my American yard, but it just is not as fragrant as the lilacs from my childhood – or that’s how I feel. :) 

Another thing about children is that the sense of fairness is ingrained in their psyche. As adults, we no longer expect things to be always fair. We have seen so much unfairness in our lives that we no longer react to it as strongly as we used to. This is not the case with the children. To them, things that are “unfair” really traumatize them. On top of that, children have no power to change things. This by itself is enough to feed your worst memories.

Also, there is this about memory. As we age, things no longer come to us in chronological order. What we remember the most are the things that shocked or pleased us the most. The rest fades into the background.

DBRL: Your book relates the many ways schoolchildren and the public were indoctrinated to believe in Soviet superiority in all matters. When did you first begin to suspect this wasn’t true?

SG:  There’s one story in my book called “The Young Pioneer.” That story is one of the examples of brainwashing school children into believing that nothing is more important than their country and its morals – not even their families. That story stuck in my mind because that was the first time I, then 9 years old, realized this cannot be true, at least not to me. My family was more important to me than my country, although, at that time, I believed that the reason for that was my personal weakness.

Later, I began paying attention to the messages of our mass media, which were strikingly different from my everyday experiences. For example, our agriculture was “the best” in the world, but we had to import wheat and other products from abroad. Our textile industry was doing great, but the only clothes I saw in the stores were dowdy, etc. It happened slowly, but by the time I turned 13, I had no doubt that everything that the Soviet regime told us was a lie.

DBRL: Can you comment on your choice of title for your memoir?

SG: I’ve been called a traitor several times in my life. The first time, it was my school principal. He called me a traitor because I wanted to transfer to another school. Later on, when I finally decided to leave Russia, many people called me that: people at work, neighbors and especially Soviet officials. In this country, a person can decide to live anywhere she wants, but in Russia in those days, it was considered to be a treacherous act. So, this is the origin of my book title.

DBRL: Have you read any good books recently that you would like to recommend to our readers?

SG: I am a non-fiction reader by far. Just recently, I ‘discovered’ Beryl Markham’s “West With the Night,” which, apparently, impressed even Hemingway. When I read fiction, I mostly go for historical fiction, like “The Greater Journey” by David McCullough, “The Aviator’s Wife” by Melanie Benjamin, etc. However, I just recently read “A Man Called Ove” by Fredrik Backman, and I’d definitely recommend it.

Don’t miss Svetlana’s author talk on Thursday, May 7th at 7 p.m. in the Friends Room at the Columbia Public Library. There will be copies of her book available at the event for purchase and signing. You can also buy a physical copy or an ebook on Amazon. If you can’t make it to her talk on May 7th, be sure to visit her website to find out about her other events.

The post Ask the Author: An Interview With Svetlana Grobman appeared first on DBRL Next.

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While the Library Is Closed…

DBRL Next - May 1, 2015

Photo of a sign reading open 24 hoursToday, May 1, the library is closed for staff training, and on Sunday, May 24 and Monday, May 25 we’ll be closed in observance of Memorial Day. While our buildings are closed and the bookmobiles are parked in the garage, don’t forget that the digital branch is always open. Below are just a few of the ways you can use the library this holiday or any day.

photo credit: Tallent Show via photopin cc

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Free Audiobook Downloads From SYNC

DBRLTeen - May 1, 2015

SYNC Free Audiobook Downloads SYNC, a service of AudioFile Magazine, offers free young adult and classic audiobook downloads during the summer months. Through this program, you can download two free audiobook titles each week from May 7 through August 13.

This summer’s lineup includes “Beautiful Creatures” by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, “Monster” by Walter Dean Myers and “Rose Under Fire” by Elizabeth Wein. The classics available for download include works by Daphne Du Maurier, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Bram Stoker, Louisa May Alcott and many more!

These audiobooks download directly to your tablet or smartphone using the Overdrive app. View a list of devices compatible with this service. To get started, simply sign up to get notifications of when the free audiobook downloads are available at The best part is that these audiobooks are yours to keep forever and ever once you’ve downloaded them!

Originally published at Free Audiobook Downloads From SYNC.

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A Poem in Your Pocket

DBRL Next - April 29, 2015

Poem in Your Pocket Day logoApril 30, the final day of National Poetry Month, is Poem in Your Pocket Day. Unlike most novels, a poem fits neatly in a wallet or pocket and can be easily shared with a coworker, friend, family member, grocery clerk, barista or anyone else you encounter during your day. A few well-chosen words can shine like crystal or feel like sharp truth. Verse can lift you up and make you see your world with new eyes. Poems can make you laugh or weep. They can make you feel less alone.

Observe Poem in Your Pocket Day by choosing your favorite lines and carrying them with you to read and share. Or post them on your Facebook page. Tweet them 140 characters at a time (don’t forget the hashtag #pocketpoem). How you celebrate is up to you.

What? You DON’T HAVE a favorite poem? Well, your friendly neighborhood library can help you out with that.

You can go old school and romantic with Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18. “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?/ Thou art more lovely and more temperate.” You can celebrate nature with Mary Oliver. “I don’t know exactly what a prayer is./ I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,/ how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,/ which is what I have been doing all day.” Visit the surreal with Mark Strand. “There is no happiness like mine./ I have been eating poetry.”

Want more? Check out any of these poetry collections from DBRL:

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Pizza & Gaming at Columbia Public Library

DBRLTeen - April 28, 2015

PizzaWii U Family Game Night
Columbia Public Library
Thursday, May 14 • 6-7:30 p.m.

Try out the library’s Wii U game console. Become a dancing superstar in “Just Dance 2015″ or a gold cup winner in “Mario Kart 8.” Pizza served. Ages 10 and older. Parents welcome. Registration required. To sign-up, please call (573) 443-3161.

Originally published at Pizza & Gaming at Columbia Public Library.

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Top Ten Books Librarians Love: The May 2015 List

DBRL Next - April 27, 2015

Library Reads Logo April showers bring May flowers and a whole crop of titles you are going to want to add to your holds list. New books from Jane Smiley, Naomi Novik, Kate Atkinson and the late Kent Haruf hit the shelves next month, and there is something here for every type of fiction reader. Whether you want a grown-up fairy tale or historical fiction, sci-fi or a thriller, this month’s list delivers. Here are the top 10 books publishing next month that librarians across the country love.

Book cover for Uprooted by Naomi NovikUprooted” by Naomi Novik
“A young girl is unexpectedly uprooted from her family and becomes involved in a centuries-old battle with The Wood, a malevolent entity that destroys anyone it touches. Fast-paced, with magic, mystery and romance, Novik’s stand-alone novel is a fairy tale for adults.” – Lucy Lockley, St. Charles City-County Library, St. Peters, MO

Book cover for A Court of Thorns and RosesA Court of Thorns and Roses” by Sarah J. Maas
“The human world is in peril. Feyre, a semi-literate girl, hunts for her family’s survival. After she kills an enormous wolf, a fierce fey shows up at her doorstep seeking retribution. Feyre is led to beautiful eternal springs, but the journey is not without danger. Maas masterfully pulls the reader into this new dark fantasy series which feels like a mix of fairy tales, from Beauty and the Beast to Tam Lin.” – Jessica C. Williams, Westlake Porter Public Library, Westlake, OH

Book cover for A God in Ruins by Kate AtkinsonA God in Ruins” by Kate Atkinson
“In ‘A God in Ruins,’ we become reacquainted with Teddy Todd, the beloved little brother of Ursula from Atkinson’s last book. As with ‘Life After Life,’ this novel skims back and forth in time, and we see the last half of the 20th century through Ted’s eyes and the eyes of his loved ones. At times funny and at others heartbreaking, Atkinson revels in the beauty and horror of life in all its messiness.” – Jennifer Dayton, Darien Library, Darien, CT

And here is the rest of the list with links to our catalog so you can place holds on these books hitting our shelves in May.

The post Top Ten Books Librarians Love: The May 2015 List appeared first on DBRL Next.

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Thank You for Your Votes! One Read Winner Announced Mid-May

One Read - April 27, 2015

Thank You SignVoting for the 2015 One Read book is now closed. We appreciate all of you who cast your vote for either “The Good Lord Bird” by James McBride or “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel.

On May 21 we will announce the winning book here at

In the meantime, read more about our finalists!

Photo credit: Avard Woolaver via photopin cc

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All About Dance

DBRL Next - April 24, 2015

Book cover for Mambo in Chinatown by Jean KwokA little while back three people recommended the same book to me over the span of about a month. These folks thought I’d enjoy the latest book by Jean Kwok, author of the previous bestseller “Girl in Translation.” In fact, I had picked up “Mambo in Chinatown” earlier and put it down as ‘not my type’ and so, after the first recommendation, I just said thanks, without comment. After the second recommendation, I had to share a laugh and explain what was going on, but after the third recommendation, which came via e-mail from a casual acquaintance, I decided I was supposed to read this book, my ‘type’ or not! The novel proved to be an entertaining look at ballroom dance, as well as the conflicts inherent in growing up the child of recent American immigrants.

Book cover for Astonish Me by Maggie ShipsteadEver since I took up ballroom dance as a pastime, I have been on the lookout for good books about dance. I recently found one that fit the bill for me. “Astonish Me” by Maggie Shipstead brings to life the story of Joan, an American woman who, in 1977, falls in love with a Soviet ballet dancer, Arslan Rusakov—who is a clearly a fictional version of Mikhail Baryshnikov. Told in time jumps and multiple points of view, this is a story of unrequited love played out in the highly political, passionate world of professional ballet. Written with complexity of character and an intriguing plot and an ending twist that may or may not come as a surprise, the book is highly readable for dancers and non-dancers alike.

Book cover for Dancer by Colum McCannThe world of ballet apparently offers a lot of fictional fodder. “Dancer” by Colum McCann is a colossal literary work that brings to life the extravagant world of Rudolf Nureyev, the Russian peasant whose genius propelled him to become an international ballet legend. Inspired by biographical facts, the story is told through a wide variety of voices, including Nureyev and his contemporaries, from the celebrated to the unknown. Beginning with Nureyev’s youth in Stalin-era Soviet Union and ending with his days of wild abandon in eighties’ New York, “Dancer” encapsulates the legendary artist in a way that captures his true essence, as well as his dazzling façade.

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2015 Gateway & Truman Award Winners Announced

DBRLTeen - April 24, 2015

2015 Gateway and Truman WinnersIt turns out that our predictions for the 2015 Gateway and Truman award winners were pretty close. John Green is the recipient of this year’s Gateway Readers Award for his book, “The Fault in Our Stars.”  Sixteen-year-old Hazel, a stage IV thyroid cancer patient, has accepted her terminal diagnosis until a chance meeting with a boy at cancer support group forces her to reexamine her perspective on love, loss and life. The library has this title available in print, eBook and audiobook. In fact, we even carry the feature film with Shailene Woodley  and Ansel Elgort. But, be warned, you will have to supply your own tissues.

Congratulations also goes to S.A. Bodeen who is this year’s Truman Readers Award recipient for her book, “The Raft.” Robbie’s last-minute flight to the Midway Atoll proves to be a nightmare when the plane goes down in shark-infested waters. Fighting for her life, the co-pilot Max pulls her onto the raft, and that’s when the real terror begins. This is another amazing survival story written by one of the best suspense writers in YA lit, but that’s just my humble opinion. :)

Originally published at 2015 Gateway & Truman Award Winners Announced.

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Spinning Your Wheels: Docs About Cars

DBRL Next - April 22, 2015

revenge of the electric car

Cars can get us to where we need to go, but sometimes they are tied to greater stories that speak to our lives and dreams. Check out these films that take a look at different roles cars play in our society.

speedo1Speedo” (2003)

Trapped in a failing marriage, demolition-derby driver Ed “Speedo” Jager channels life’s frustrations onto the track, hoping to parlay his talents into a “real” racing career. This film captures the collisions and confrontations during one tumultuous year.

bulletproof salesmanBulletproof Salesman” (2008)

Fidelis Cloer is a self-confessed war profiteer who found the perfect war when the US invaded Iraq. It wasn’t about selling a dozen cars, or even a hundred, it was a thousand-car war where security would become the ultimate product.

revenge of the electric carRevenge of the Electric Car” (2011)

A sequel to the 2006 documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car?,” director Chris Paine takes his film crew behind the closed doors of Nissan, GM and the Silicon Valley start-up Tesla Motors to chronicle the story of the global resurgence of electric cars.

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Staff Review: The Accidental Highwayman

DBRLTeen - April 22, 2015

"The Accidental Highwayman" by Ben TrippWhy I Checked it Out: The full title of the book is “The Accidental Highwayman: Being the Tale of Kit Bristol, His Horse Midnight, a Mysterious Princess, and Sundry Magical Persons Besides. ” This sounded pretty humorous to me, so I picked it up and started reading.

What It’s About: “The Accidental Highwayman” is exactly about what its’ full title implies. Kit Bristol is a servant to a wealthy man, and one day after shopping at the market, returns back to his masters’ home to find his master shot and fully dressed in the costume of the famous highwayman, Whistling Jack. Suddenly, Kit has to become Whistling Jack to survive, is tricked by a witch to save a fairy princess, and lead on an adventure involving trolls, pixies, an evil fairy king and a mad fairy duchess.

What I Liked About It (And, What I Didn’t): The narrative style of “The Accidental Highwayman” is funny and clever. Kit is a pretty comical character, and he has entertaining thoughts about his strange circumstances. I enjoyed the characters in the book and their sometimes absurd behavior. I also enjoyed the historical references that author Ben Tripp makes, as well as his footnotes, but I was not a big fan of the story’s pacing.  Although the book has parts that move fast and make it hard to put down, it also has some parts where nothing really happens, and the story drags.

Similar Titles: “The Accidental Highwayman” is written in a similar swash-buckling style as “The Princess Bride,” so if you enjoy the narrative style, you could give it a try. A few other titles worth looking into, with similar adventures, are “Around the World in 100 Days” and “Gabriel Finley & the Raven’s Riddle.

Originally published at Staff Review: The Accidental Highwayman.

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The Gentleman Recommends: Tom Rachman

DBRL Next - April 20, 2015

Book cover for The Imperfectionists by Tom RachmanExtra! Extra! Given the size of space, the abundance of ocean and the for-now fictional technology that allows us to shrink humans and put them in a shrunken blood-submarine and send them into a full-size human for reasons of medicine or espionage, there are practically infinite settings for a novel. A great book could be set anywhere: a post-apocalyptic wasteland, a circus, even a pre-apocalyptic wasteland. But a newspaper may be the ultimate setting for a funny and sad novel. The pathos is built in: a building full of people passionate about their work but whose jobs are endangered because their industry is dying, what with the Internet and the world’s growing distaste for paper cuts and things that can’t take pictures of their food. (Proof: while this blog is a runaway success, the copies I write in magic marker on old newspapers and leave scattered about the local reading emporiums along with a note to mail me fifty cents and make a tally mark on a piece of paper and also mail that to me so I can count my readers, have reached, apparently, zero people.)

The international newspaper in “The Imperfectionists” is reaching more readers than my “Gentleman Recommends” circular, but, given its expenses, it is in much greater danger of closing up shop than I am of running out of old newspapers or magic markers (though those things do only have so much ink; please mail me fifty cents). Each chapter gives voice to a new character, and the book is spliced with interludes from the paper’s early days. This framework gives us a story as old as time: rich old man starts a newspaper in order to give a job to and reestablish contact with an old flame. A young journalist has his taste for the work destroyed by a manipulative industry veteran who commandeers his hotel room, laptop and opportunity to cozy up to a lady he fancies. An elderly reader’s home is mostly occupied by newspapers because she reads every word of each issue and is a slow reader and therefore decades behind in the news. There’s a man that inherits a newspaper he knows little about, preferring to spend his time conversing with his tiny dog and feeding it the sort of extravagant meals that had this gentleman scrambling to his mailbox to check for a pile of cents that might allow me to dine in similar opulence. And many, many more!

Tom Rachman also uses the bounce-around-in-time trick to keep the mystery and intrigue thick in his second outstanding novel, “The Rise and Fall of Great Powers.” You’ll want to have a taste for quirky characters, the sort that wear mismatched shoes intentionally, own bookshops and engage in some half-hearted scamming. Tooly Zylberberg’s past is mysterious, to the reader and herself, and it’s tremendous fun to unravel it via a structure that jumps chapter by chapter from her adulthood, to her young adulthood, to her childhood. Read all about it!

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